US, France, Britain launch strikes on Syria


US, France, Britain launch strikes on Syria

In Summary

  • The United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of punitive strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime on Saturday.
  • The move is in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks that President Donald Trump branded the "crimes of a monster."
  • Explosions were heard in the Syrian capital Damascus, signalling a new chapter in a brutal seven-year-old civil war.

The United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of punitive strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime on Saturday.

The move is in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks that President Donald Trump branded the “crimes of a monster.”

Explosions were heard in the Syrian capital Damascus, signalling a new chapter in a brutal seven-year-old civil war.

An AFP correspondent in the city said several consecutive blasts were heard at 4:00 am (0100 GMT), followed by the sound of airplanes overhead. Smoke could be seen rising from the northern and eastern edges of the capital.

“A short time ago, I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said, in a primetime address from the White House.

A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now under way. We thank them both.”

“This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime,” he said of the suspected deadly gas attack a week ago on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma.

“The evil and the despicable attack left mother and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.”

Joseph Dunford, Washington’s top general, said the strikes hit three targets near Damascus — a scientific research center, a storage facility and command post — and a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs.

Syrian surface to air missile batteries had attempted to fire back, but there were no initial reports of allied losses, he added.

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